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ITI Profile - Claire Turner

We talk to Claire Turner, one of our SUFT alumni and winner of ITI's Best Newcomer - Freelancing award.

Claire Turner is a German-English translator and qualified solicitor. She holds the IoL Diploma in Translation and has been an ITI Career Affiliate since 2016. Through her translation business, CTLC Translations, Claire offers translations and proofreading of legal documentation. She also works as a legal consultant. Claire was recently the first recipient of the ITI Best Newcomer - Freelancing Award.

Why did you decide to embark on a freelance career?

Having worked as a solicitor in private practice and then in-house for many years, I wanted a change of career that would enable me to work for myself and utilise my German language skills. I felt that working as a freelance translator and legal consultant would be a good way to do this.

What do you see as the biggest challenges of freelancing?

After many years in full-time, paid employment it is challenging not to know how much work you will be doing or money you will be earning on a month to month basis. One of the reasons I wanted to have two income streams to my business was so that one could subsidise the other if necessary. I also realised that I would need to incur some costs in order to set up the translation side of my business (for studying, exam costs and networking events) and that it could take some time to recoup these. Doing part-time legal work has made this less of a risk financially  but has also presented some challenges at times, in terms of juggling the two elements.

And the biggest rewards?

I have relished the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for myself. It has also been great to take my career in a new direction and make contacts in a new sector. I have also been able to travel abroad to conferences and events, which has been fun. Passing the Diploma in Translation exams and then winning the ITI Best Newcomer award in the same month confirmed that my decision to change direction was the right one for me.

Why did you decide to take the SUFT course?

I wanted to put myself in the best possible position to launch my translation business. I had never worked as a translator or run my own business and knew that new skills would be needed for this. I was attracted to the on-line course as it gave me the flexibility I needed to fit around my consultancy commitments and was much more cost and time effective than travelling to London to attend courses in person (I am based in Devon). I also felt that the range of topics covered was broad enough to ensure that I would not miss anything key in my business planning.

What are the most important learning points you have taken from SUFT?

The course confirmed the importance of offering a specialisation and I had an obvious one in the area of legal documents. I also realised that a large number of skills that I had developed in the course of my legal career were equally applicable to the field of translation for example, attention to detail, time management and a professional, customer-focused attitude are all essential to the work of a translator. The course confirmed that my plan to develop new contacts through networking, both on-line and in person, rather than simply sending emails to agencies, was a sensible one.

What sort of assignments do you typically find yourself taking on?

I launched my translation business in February and so far I have undertaken a mixture of translation and proofreading of a wide range of documents in the legal field, working with both agencies and direct clients.

Do you see specialisation as an advantage?

Yes, I think that my experience of working as a solicitor has been a significant advantage both in terms of attracting goods clients and delivering high-quality translations. The fact that I continue to undertake legal work helps keep me up to date in my specialise field and perhaps helps me compare favourably to legal translators who have not worked as lawyers. All the work I have had to date has been related to my specialisation.

What's next, after winning the Best Newcomer Award?

I will continue to grow the translation side of my business and develop my network of contacts. I will be attending the German Network Anglophoner Tag in Chester in September and then travelling to Hannover to attend the BDÜ specialist legal translation and interpreting conference in October. I am also going to be working on improving my Italian with a view to offering a second language in years to come.

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